Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Amythra 29

Leaf juice is the closest thing to tea in this world. What few Annalow citizens know, however, is that the best leaf juice comes from Rumor Trees found and cultivated on Jerrow Island. Even though the leaf juice at By Graces has the second best Leaf Juice in the city and the juice was brewed cool and kept in barrels in the basement next to some of the wines, this juice was only the 11th best leaf Juice Amythra had ever had. She made a face at her cup as soon as her tongue registered the disappointment, then she continued plan a. Lament the loss of her map.

As far as Anna was concerned, this WAS the best leaf juice, but she was biased, of course, having grown up around the bizarre. This juice made her feel at home and she smiled pleasantly, politely nodding to an recently befreinded Marf Physician who noticed her from within the crowd. "It always helps me think, this juice." Anna said out loud. "Maybe it will help you."

"No." Amythra sniveled and cleaned her face on her vest again. "It's hopeless. Everything is hopeless."

"What did you lose? Or are you looking for something new?"

"I..." Amythra thought of the two things she lost in that day. Father might be so angry she'd lose her home as well. "I lost a lot. I lost a map to a place I was to deliver and I lost a brother today to the war."

"He's dead?"

"May as well be. He's at the barracks now, I imagine. At the docks."

"Oh." Goldeyes remembered the farewells she's given to some of her friends in the Red Guard because they had been recruited to help with the Borc Cross Melitia. "That war."

As they spoke, Roose and Boose sat on the other side of Amythra from Anna and ordered Calf Stake and a pitcher of Noon-Beer.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Amythra 28

"By Graces" has been in a the Flagon family name for as long as anyone could remember and rumor is told, mostly by the owners, to be the primary reason the Bizzare of Annalow sprouted up to begin with. The inside of the Reed and stone building was a large and every full diner that could be mathematically divided between the old patrons of breakfest, lunch, and dinner and the new foreigners who made trade at the gate of the city. The effect of this was everything a Game Master could need for the proverbial starting tavern of adventurers and, with or without help from outer gods, became just that setting on it's own.

What's the secret to an age old diner? Well, first start with a foundation of stone floors checkered green and the typical kind of blue stone found anywhere in Annalow. Add heavy Berry Wood tables and chairs strong enough to withstand the eventual alcohol induced fight, add a touch of the Flagon family charm and by graces you have "By Graces." Everyone's diner. It was hardly a mistake Anna Goldeyes and Amythra should take a sharp turn into this building. It felt like everyone's home and the smell was nice, too.

Goldeyes sat a weeping Amythra on a bar stool facing out a glassless window and yelled for service. "Pitcher of Leaf Juice and two cups!" One of the three Effee Maids echoed the order and wandered off to fetch it. Out front, the flow of traffic was easier to contemplate as the two womumes were seated a few feet above the crowd. Amythra wiped her eyes clean and finished snotting on her vest so she could get a better look through blurry eyes. It was remarkable that so many people could fit in one place. How did they get around or cart goods or keep from chattering throughout the night? How was anything done? When the refreshments arrived, Goldeyes thanked the maid and passed on one bit before pouring a glass and shoving it under Amythra's face. "Drink this."

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Felf Rules

For the Active Exploits Take Two Game.


Here are the starting abilities and aspects of Felfs.

Fitness: 0

Awareness: 1

Creativity: 0

Reasoning: 0

Time Magic: 0

Luck: 4

Discipline: 4

Felf have angular faces with long ears that either stick outwards from the head or upwards just reaching above the crown. The tips of their ears are slightly furry and their general physical build tends to be lean. Where there are Fox-kin settlements there tend to be foxes as well. Never treated like pets, they are brethren.

Felf are clever beasts with sharp senses. Their society has complex etiquette, but remain on the friendly side to outsiders. Kind of like a cross between Victorian English and Japanese cultures. All their communities are hidden from the rest of the world, not from Xenophobia, but because there was a time when they were hunted down for fear of their magic. This comes from the story of the Shrinking Mountains which are still shrinking to this day.

Felfs understand and control the vagaries of time. As with all magic, physical touch is required to effect the time of a thing, but it's effects and price vary depending on the situation. All things have two kinds of time, Visual and Substantial. Remember that time must come from somewhere, so if something is sped up, something must slow down and if a thing is rewound, it must fast-forward to catch up.

Diff - Effect

1 - Perfect perception of time and it's effects.

2 - Control of Vision up to and hour

4 - Control of Substance up to and hour, Vision up to a day

6 - Control of Substance up to a day, full control of Vision

8 - Full control of Substance.

Edit: Anything Felf related goes hand in hand with the story of the Shrinking mountains. Only historians know for sure what happened, but the jist is this: A huge army of Borc attacked Felf-kin about 800 years ago. The Felf army froze the Borcs in time, stuck and impervious to outside assult. The time had to be put somewhere, so the Felf-kin put it into the surrounding mountains which age faster and faster each year. Thus, the shrinking mountains.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Borc Rules

For the Active Exploits Take Two Game.


Here are the starting abilities and aspects for Borcs

Fitness: 1

Awareness: 0

Creativity: 0

Reasoning: 0

Fire Magic: 0

Luck: 4

Discipline: 4

Borcs are large, lumbering beasts, growing up to 7 feet tall, like Effee, but they also grow outwards. As Bear Kin, they are hairy all over and all try to sport beards, even the Woborc. Underneath their harry lips are two small upward pointing tusks. The tend to be good smiths and fighters as when they move they act slow and lumbery with short powerful bursts of movement.

Borcs come usually from the northern hemisphere and are build for the cold there of. Great in population and have a variety of cultures. For Annalow purposes, they mimic old Norse values of warrior-ship and might-makes-right principals. That's what most borc in the great city believe, anyway, even if some have different ideas.

The world view Borc as varied, but lazy people. The borcs are so massive, both in size and number, that they really don't care what other's think.

All magic requires physical touch, but Borc touch energy, specializing in fire. Because energy has to come from somewhere, Borc magic tends to leave ice behind. It is forbidden for Borc to take power from a living thing other than plant life. Doing so is such a strain against their upbringing that it will burn 1 point of discipline each time it's done.

Diff- Effect

0/1- Sense of Energy or Movement with in 10 feet.

2- Detailed sense of Energy or Movement with in 100 feet.

4- Clumsy control of Energy, especially Fire.

6- Complex or Massive control of Energy.

8- Massive perfect control of Energy.

Difficulty to do damage along with any other kinds of energy manipulation is 3 + the amount of damage wanted, up to 5. All damage is treated like Injury damage.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Amythra 27

Roose and Boose have been looking all around for a foreigner. Someone who would need a map to a place so easy to find. They failed with two strikes against them. 1. They were short. 2. The Annalow Bizarre is 80% foreigners. The two looked at each other, thinking the same thing. This was a hopeless quest for a needle in a stack of needles.

"What then? How do you match a map with it's owner without a clue?"

"The map is the clue. Perhaps we should go to the weapon smith?"

"How would the owner find the smith without the map?"

"Then instead, we should find were the map was placed, dropped, or lost."

The trouble with luck is you can tell when it happens, but not how or why. The universe doesn't speak Ixxar or leave instructions. It makes you to work out your opportunities by your own judgment. Roose and Boose are usually very good at these things, but here they stood at the edge of the street next to a dinner, hands on chins, distracted by a fight breaking out over spilled food, or something. They tried to ignore it.

"What we need is more luck."

"No no no. We don't want to risk the Chaos Whiplash." Roose's term means the more good luck you have, the more likely fate will balance it with one large punch of bad luck.

"I know, but there is no logical way to work out this map's meaning. What we need is non-logic."

"Then quick, without thinking, what's the first thing that comes to your mind?"

On cue, both of their stomachs grumbled and in chorus, the Twins said "Food."

"No no no." Roose said. "That won't get us anywhere."

"Yes, first this problem, then food."

More time thinking.

"I wish that girl would make silence."

"She's probably crying over being caught by the Red Guard."

Roose and Boose watched Anna escort Amythra into the Dinner. As they passed, the Ixxar's tummies growled again.

"No, Boose. Fight it. We have a problem to solve."

"Yes, a hungry problem. I mean delicious conundrum. Baked puzzle. I mean I want to eat it."

"Fight it. We've stood up to Council-Borc Nors. We can fight this."

The rebellion against their stomachs was brave indeed, but reinforments came from the smells of the dinner. They finally sighed and gave in to the oppressive hunger and went inside.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Amythra 26

Anna rolled her eyes and batted away the other two mumes. "That enough of that. I'll deal with her."

"What about our food?! We paid good gold for that!" Said one of them.

"Yeah," the other chimed in. "we demand reparation!"

"Shut up. We don't know context." Anna pulled the mume's had off of Amythra.

"But..." One look from Goldeyes and the mume shut up.

"You, girl, explain yourself."

Amythra was on the verge of tears. This hadn't been what she wanted at all. " just...I was looking for..." Her thoughts were as fragmented as her sentences. "I'm sorry." Was the most coherency she could muster.

Fortunately, she was just young enough for Goldeyes to face-palm and take pity. "Ugh. It's...okay. Just calm down." Anna turned to the others and said "This was clearly an accident. Cut your losses and leave, boys."

"Hey, what about our food?"

"You got a complaint? Call the city guard." Anna stretched her official looking Red Gaurd gloves tighter on her hands to show them off. "As you can see, this is out of my jurisdiction."

The mumes went wide eyed once the realized her profession and beat it, diving quickly into the crowd. Goldeyes used to firm grip to escort Amythra aside of the festival, next to a shop where a set of Ixxar twins loitered in contemplation. "This is called a crowd, islander. You may not be used to it, but you need to watch where you're going." Anna's voice was firm, but not cruel. She was used to dealing with children.

"I'm sorry." wimpered Amythra.

"Sorry means more than feeling bad, islander. It also means making sure you do not offend again. Are you really so sorry?" Amythra nodded. "Then have the curtsy to look at the ones you bump into. Now, what are you searching for?" Amythra looked up, confused. "You said you're looking for something. What?"

Words didn't come easy, stuck in Amythra's throat. Instead she motioned clumsily at the size of the map, its dimensions , and its supposed where-abouts. Anna narrowed her gold eyes and slowly shook her head. "You're having a fit, aren't you?" This caused Amythra to break out in sobs.

Anna face-palmed again. The awkwardness was too strong here, so she pulled Amythra in a local dinner, passing and ignoring a set of Ixxar twins.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Amythra 25

The Church of the Living Goddess has always taught that on the dawn of the third millennium from Zero Day, it will be an "Age of Firsts." These firsts come in waves and by people who are not really trying to be the first of anything, rather just to be more than what they were. Anna Goldeyes is such a person. She is Annalow's first criminal investigator, choosing certain justice over revenge as a hand for the Red Guard.

Anna herself looked like her own goddess, being unusually tall for a womume and well endowed. Her eyes were, as advertised, golden and brown and they shined in the presence of children. She wore red trousers, like most of the Red Guard, also a loose white top instead of her red uniform jacket. It was her day off, you see, and Anna relaxed at the City Bizarre where she enjoyed a small chunk of ice imported from the northern glaciers.

With magic, every action requires an equal and opposite reaction. Roose and Boose knew that the lucky map would lead to success, but Goldeyes was the reaction to their boon. Because of their luck, a small fight started beside Anna and knocked her ice onto the ground.

She Lamented her loss for only moment until the sorrow turned angry. Anna whirled around and grabbed her assaulter from behind and twirled him about face to face. "That ice was expensive."

"Hey, don't look at me, womume. This girl pushed me out of the way." Anna looked over the mume toward an islander girl apologizing to two other guys, one of whom had the girl by the vest. "She knocked all our food to the ground." the mume said, pointed to a pile of dinner in the dirt.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Amythra 24

Amythra's room was small. Smaller than her room back home. The walls were smoothed stone and not the knitted grass and mud she was used to and she felt a little claustrophobic, even if she didn't know what that word meant. There was just enough room for a bed and a stand with a book on top. She'd seen one like it at the village church. She pushed it aside to make way for the contents of her burlap sack.

One nights fresh clothes, an apple, a water skin, an olive-wood box, a return ticket, small blank papyrus, charcoal in a box, and a map...

Wait. Where was the map? Not in the sack, not under the blank paper, not anywhere. Amythra felt like she was falling. With out that map, she wouldn't be able to know what shop to deliver to and she forgot the name of the Borc she was supposed to meet. She couldn't even ask directions. Her brother's words hit her like a punch in the nose "A lot more of everything than you've ever seen." A lot more black smiths, per chance? Great Goddess.

She didn't remember sitting on the bed or placing her palms over her temple. She didn't hear herself speak. "What do I do?" These deliveries were no small affair. The only reason this kind of delivery was made possible was because father's carving skills were so good the sale of them paid for the voyage. Father might be angry enough to kick Amythra out for good and she's had to sell fake flowers on the streets of Jerrow to eat.

It's important to note; We all know the map will come back into her possession and she will somehow help Roose and Boose, but Amythra was unaware of this. So keep in mind, to her the world was crumbling as what was supposed to be proof to her father that she was reliable for making these deliveries in place of her brother was turning into a loss of several crowns of mume currency.

Without looking back, or at anything at all, Amythra darted out of the inn and made way for the crowd of the festival once more. "Plan" was too strong a word for her, then.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I don't know what I'm doing.

Hey, Folks, this update is late in the day because...well, I'll explain.

First off, I'm determined to finish the Amythra story, but it has a small problem. When I began it, I didn't write an outline like I normally do with my other fiction. Even my current Webcomic, which I'm sort of wildly philandering with right now, has an outline. I know what the beginning, middle, and end are. No so with the internal and external struggles of our heroine.

If you want good proof of this and how little I'm paying attention, back up to Amythra 20, when she and Drory trade coins. I wanted to show how much this trip meant to her and her want was, let's face it, a pretty simple souvenir, BUT what's off is that Drory made no big deal that she didn't have gloves on for the trade of money. One could argue that it was because Drory noticed she was an islander, but that no excuse or worse; That implies that Jerrow Island has no members of the Church of the Living Goddess, who surely would have their own practitioners of white and red maidens.

I'm kind of ashamed to say I haven't been putting a lot of thought in this bit. The story isn't the purpose of the Blog (not really), however any creation of mine shouldn't be so...half handed. SO, I'm delaying a day because I need to wrap my head around where this story is going.

Let's look real quick at what has happened, and what it means, story wise.

First, I'm trying out the Outline theory that I read somewhere in Wired Magazine that goes in 8 steps, like circular motion.

1. Introduce the Familiar:

So Amythra is found drawing and contemplating the many ships that frequent the docks of her village and the annoyance of her brother's sibling love. She also has a father and a mentor (Crate the Effee). So far so good.

2. Introduce a Desire

The main thing here is, Amythra WANT'S her brother not to go to war, but that won't happen. As a consolation prize, she'll take his duties to her father and be given a chance to experience the Great City. I realize I should have played this up more. It's because I'm used to my old habbits of story outline, which doesn't mix well.

3. Throw the character into a new situation.

Easy. Annalow is so overwealming to her, it's like a guy from Perkins, OK suddenly thrown into New York, NY.

4. The Character Addapts


5. The Character Gains their desire.


6. Having paid a heavy price for it.


7. And so they return to the familiar...


8. ...having changed.


I have some work to do.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Effee Rules

For the Active Exploits Take Two Game.


Here are the starting abilities and aspects for Effees

Tame Effees

Fitness: 0

Awareness: 0

Creativity: 1

Reasoning: -1

Luck: 4

Discipline: 5

Wild Effees

Fitness: 1

Awareness: 0

Creativity: 0

Reasoning: -1

Luck: 5

Discipline: 4

Spread 4 points among the above stats. You start with 4 Novice Skills, 3 Proficient, and 1 Expert skill.

All effees are tall and slender and rabbit like, the lazier ones fattening around the belly, but not must in the arms or legs. They stand 7 feet tall, adding 1 additional foot for ears, have tuft of fur for a tail, and differ in color exactly how rabbits and hairs differ, ranging from solid color to calico brown, black, and white. Solid white, or albino, Effees are prized by Annalow, but their large red eyes can be disconcerting.

Wild effees have tall ears that stand erect and elders and braves put on feather and ribbon earings to symbolize freedom. Tame effees have heavy earings that weigh down the ears and have colored patterns to note who owns what effee. After the slave-rings are removed, the ears tend to dangle for the rest of the effee's life.

Effee's are a complicated race, because on the inside of Annalow, they believe slavery is a way of life, necessary to pay Mandra back for anaviation. Tame effee are often quoted "There are many kinds of freedom." Meanwhile, the wild effee hold a grudge against Annalow because of their enslaved brothers and sisters. Wild ones rarely brave sneaking into the city, since all Effee with in Annalow are considered property, but that doesn't stop their occasional attacks on trade routes or the docks.

This conflict has gone on for so long that one can tell an effee, wild or tame, by their fur. Wild Effee live in the wilderness, adopting a culture not unlike Native Americans, and have fluffy and curly fur. Tame effees are groomed like pets and have a sleek and straight fur.

Note that Effee's are not stupid, per se, as much as they are unfocused and disorganized. Mash'ta views them as victims, which annoy even wild one, and as exotic creatures. No one believes them capable of Magic, not even themselves. They have magic, but the number of practitioners is a single digit and isn't worth mentioning as a playable aspect.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mume Rules

For the Active Exploits Take Two Game.


Here are the starting abilities and aspects for Mume Race.

Fitness: 0

Awareness: 0

Creativity: 2

Reasoning: 0

Mental Magic: -1

Luck: 4

Discipline: 4

Spread 4 points among the above stats. You start with 4 Novice Skills, 3 Proficient, and 1 Expert skill.

Mumes are the stand in for Humans, but are not humans themselves. There is some variation to their look, but most have dark skin, bright eyes of any color (even strange colors like purple, gold, or pink), and dark blond to white hair. The Mumes in Jerrow and Annalow are used to tropical atmosphere, so tend to dress very lightly, choosing thin fabric or nothing. Traveling Mumes that have seen the world dress more practically.

Because of Annalow, Mash'ta tends to view Mumes with hesitant curiosity. The city was taken by force, it allows slavery, and it's citizens are rather promiscuous. So the default view of Mumes are that they are sex-crazed tyrannical slavers. Mumes rarely fit this image, usually being caught up in their own thoughts about fashion, style, or art. Mumes obsess over culture, you see.

Remember that only female mumes (womume) who are affiliated with the Church of the Living Goddess are trained to use Mental Magic, but all mumes have some small capacity. Because of how closely they guard it, however, the Mental Magic ability may not increase unless trained by the church. They are called "Heart Mage" as official name or "Sensate" in unofficial circles.

All magic requires physical contact to work. Here's a list of what Mental Magic is capable of and the difficulty for each act.

Diff- Effect

0/1- Sense of general emotions and sensations

2- Detailed readings of the target's thoughts

4- Limited Control over emotions and sensation of the target.

6- Control over Specific thoughts, but the effects do not last longer than 3 days

8- Permanent control over specific thoughts and emotions of the target.

A tricky note about all magic: There is no action without an equal and opposite reaction and that remains true of magic. There will be debates over what is lost from the heart mage when a target's mind is changed, or worse, what is added. An example is if a heart-mage wants to ease the pain of another, they would take the pain onto themselves. I foresee much argument in the future.

[Note: Crap, I forgot yesterday. Spent the day with my wife and it slipped my mind. 10 Days off left.]

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Amythra 23

Boose unconsciously reached down to grab the papyrus marked in charcoal, then looked to his twin. "Did you do that?"

"I don't know." Replied the Ixxar, fixing his red irised eyes on the paper. "What is it?"

The two were in sync, each holding one edge of the paper. It was, of course, Amythra's map. They didn't need to discus the fact that this map lead to a well known sword-smith who was exactly he kind of Borc they needed, but couldn't use. His name was Arrow the Smith and his work was strong, prolific, practical, and more importantly, legal. Arrow made the swords in individual pieces in the city, then shipped them outside to finish assembly then shipped them wherever needed. Technically, the pieces were not swords while in the city.

"A clever borc..."

"...who doesn't like us."

"Regardless, this stroke of luck is relevant. Coincidence like this couldn't be coincidence."

"Agreed. Perhaps we should search for the owner of this lost map." Both began to search through the crowd, but who would need such a map when the streets of Annalow were purposefully layed out by Ixxar design to make it easy to find anything.

All the rooms of the Borc's Slumber, all ten of them, were upstairs past a hallway that was barely big enough for Drory to fit in, let alone him and his guest. He mumbled something about inconvenient confusion of islanders before unlocking room #5. "There it is, then. Toilet's on the ground floor, 'course, and and it's too small for my kind, but you'll find the bed's nice an' soft, I suppose."

"Thank you." Amythra tried to squeeze pass Drory, brushing her nose on his shirt. He smelled like sweaty leather and incense. Popping out the other side of him, she bowed. "Really thank you for the room."

"T'wern't noth'n, I suppose. Just don't be too loud after sunset."

"Uh...Mr. Drory,"

"Just Drory, womume."

"Sorry. Drory, what's the festival for?"

Drory's eyes looked left, as if reading the reason off the wall. "Near as I can tell, it's Celebrate-for-no-Reason day." He shrugged. "Mumes are weird." And left her to her room.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Amythra 22

Before Amythra and Drory made it to Room #5, outside the hotel, around the corner, into the crowd, and under the shade of an awning, Roose and Boose leaned against a vender's counter and contemplated. They were a set of Ixxar Twins and, like all Ixxar, moved and thought as one unit, perhaps making up in number what they lacked in height. Ixxar tended to be no taller than 4 feet. There wasn't anything outwardly remarkable other than the long white hair hanging over their deep blue skin. Unlike a great many Ixxar in existence, let alone Annalow, Roose and Boose smiled a lot.

They smiled because things always went right for them. The universe bent its will just for them and this was no accident. Ixxar are violently privet of their personal affairs, especially regarding their magic, but they have released the smallest hint of Ouroborous saying they 'had a simple gift regarding complex things.' This was three fold for Roose and Boose because these Ixxar had a reliable gift making simple of complex situations which lead to the luckiest Dragon-damned twins in the universe.

It was one of these complicated situations that Roose and Boose contemplated now. "We could," said Boose, "leave it to chance and just not worry about it. Something may fall into our lap, as it always does."

"But," said Roose, "Action without action won't gather us the weapons we need in the bulk we want. Even relying on luck, we couldn't carry crates of swords made illegal in the city anyway."

"What we need," said Boose, "is a legal way to acquire these weapons. It is, after all, for a legal reason or however legal war is outside the city."

"I think war is still legal from an Annalow stand point."

"Hard to say."

The conundrum was unstated because people who were able to make fine weapons in bulk in the city were extremely distrustful of Ixxar, more so than an ungloved womumes. The Ixxar were not inherently evil, you see, but their secretive and amoral nature won them no friends. And so the two thought, until a map fluttered to a halt at their feet.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Amythra 21

"Oh go on, Drory." Said a kinder, yet just as gruff, woborc voice from in back. "Give 'er a discount, then."

"Nope." said the borc guarding the counter. "No credit." A large wooden spoon reach from behind him and smacked him on the nogin. Drory adjusted himself, "'Sept to those what the missus likes, I suppose. Five bits, but no lower."

Amythra put her hands up. "Oh no, sir. I'm not looking for charity. Don't mind me, I'll just find another place."

"You'll have no luck there, deary." The woborc's voice from in back said. "Prices are pretty much set for inns around here. You'll have to walk all the way back to the docks to get a better price."

Drory shrugged. "She's right, you know. She's always right, that one." He shut his eyes.

Amythra gave it some thought and decided not to question it too much. She'd be careful, but Crate had told her once to recognize good will when it was offered, so out went the 5 bits she'd owe for the night. "Drat." said the borc. "Yer gonna make me work, aren't ya?" He put the money under his beard again and slowly got out of his chair. Drory's joints snapped and cricked as he rose, like the sound of a fresh log on the fire. After the first 20 snaps the last popped loudly and he was finished standing. "Oof. 'Felt that last one, Georra. Might need to see that feller again about me back."

"Stop complaining and she her a room, Drory. Poor thing must'a been stunned by the bizarre outside, what with the festival."

Amythra tried to look pass Drory to the woborc behind the doorway. "It's...uh...Then it's not normally like this, you saying?"

"Nope." Drory manured around the counter, keys jingling as he pulled them from his pocket, also somewhere under his beard.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Amythra 20

"I..." She twisted her lips. "I don't really have enough, but could I ask a favor?"

"No credit." Said the huge beast behind the counter, eyes closed and settling down to go back to snoozing.

"No, noth'n like that. I...uh...I wonder if I could trade one of my Jerrow bits for one of your Annalow ones."

The borc opened the same eye to look her over. "You what?" From ever behind the borc there was a doorway leading to his house. A woborc snuck a look at the girl from there.

"Yes, well. I mean, it's pretty obvious, isn't it. It's my first time in the home city and..." She stalled.

The borc rolled his one eye. "You don't say?"

"...and I wanted an Annalow coin."

The Borc reached into his pocket, somewhere under his beard, and put a bit on the counter which Amythra giddily traded. She looked at her prize and hopped three times in place, smiling. The Borc, on the other hand, just glanced at the island coin and pocketed somewhere under his chin. He took a good long look at the girl and softened slightly. "It's only a bit, womume."

"Wrong." She smiled. "It's my first Annalow bit." She looked up at the borc, who was twisting his lips into a confused frown. "Well, I just said, didn't I? It's my first time here."

"Surely you have a gold piece to break into change. Could'a got a bit that way." He shrugged.

"No, I don't have much. I'm here on business for one night only. Not enough time for that sort of money." She dropped the coin into a pouch on her hip, separate from her coin purse.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Foundation of Time Magic

His hand was on his temple. “Time magic? Hmmm...” The gears turned in place. “Yes, I think that's fair.”

Than payment before delivery, if you please. You're kind are rare, if not in danger of vanishing. How is it done?”

Master Drate laughed. “Vanish? Hardly. We're simply in hiding, enjoying our quiet existence. And we Felf kin thrive, Krista. A mother may breed a litter of four at once, if the sun shines brightly that day. No no, we are not going anywhere...but as for how this works, that requires some small foundation of knowledge as to Great Fox's gift. We hold no secret of it's mechanics, unlike your kind, if you'll pardon the offense. We share the gift with every one of our kind and in most communities, like my own household, it's teachings are a family matter.” Krista shrugged.

Master continued, pulling out a bit from his vest pocket, “I guess we should start with how time works. That's the best way. Imagine a shaft surrounded by earth. A shaft so large it that if it were that size of this building, the universe around us in all it's forms would appear to be the width of this coin. The shaft continues on upwards higher than the gods can reach and falls forever downwards and without bottom. When non Felf think of time, they think we are moving forward, but we felf know that we actually fall, twisting in shapes and cursive loops that branch and dance and embrace, then let go.” To emphasize his point, he dropped the coin a few feet above the table.

I found myself, like the White Maid, enthralled to Master's words, and our two set of eyes were fixated on the coin, which seemed to take forever flipping and falling toward the table. We saw the candle light slowly flicker on the edges of the shiny bit. I think it took us a good moment before we realized that it was no illusion. The coin truly was dropping slowly. Like a bubble of soap, it gently fell and hit the table, making a strange low metallic noise, then it rose back into the sky.

It's bouncing!” I yelled.

Yes, Ms. Quill. It's bouncing, just very slowly. What you both see is small. You're only seeing time rippling the air. Think of it like looking into a clear pond and watching images at the bottom refract. The coin is actually right here.” He held up his hand, holding nothing, but his fingers were divoted as if the coin were invisible. Suddenly, and violently, the bit sped up intensely, bouncing unnaturally fast and flying into Master's hand instantly. Krista and myself jumped away from the table.

--From the unpublished account of Quill, an Effee.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


In the World of Mash'ta, one might have had the misunderstanding that the Gods interfere with the world on a frequent basis, but this isn't so. The last touch of divine force was the creation of the Ebony Tower by the world's most recent addition to its pantheon. Philosophers and religious leaders assume that deities, minus the Living Goddess, really exist in an outer-sphere of reality called the "Aether." After such a long time since divine interference two schools of thought have arisen.

1- That the Gods who anaviated each race hover still over the world and watch, moving only when needed, but the current struggles of the anaviated are below their concern as even the Living Goddess, who sleeps down here with the mortals, will not step in to shape history.

2- That there are no Gods, because there is no logical evidence as to their existence and Mandra is simply a very clever mage or lineage of magi who have altered the minds of those who seek her. Also, that the origin of life is a sutler mystery to ponder than guessing that mythical animals of likeness are the true seeds of sentience.

It's important to note that, for the sake of story, the non-believers are indeed wrong, but they still debate, MUST debate in a world where the Gods rule if not interfere and that each race is united by faith of the unseen, even if different countries claim different dogmas. There are witch hunts for the nonbelievers in every country, which ironically serve to reinforce the faith in absence of God, as would most likely happen according to the Back-Fire Effect. To further this farcical paradox, there exists a race of people, the Crow Kin, who's gift it is to step into the aether and meet with the gods in their individual thrown room, but because their claim is blasphemous, they were all but hunted into extinction, removing evidence needed for the non-believers.

Now that's what I call irony.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Amythra 19

Jerrow and Annalow both use the same currency of Ixxar origin, so coin was not an issue, but her father only gave Amythra 10 bits. That was just enough for a room at the docks, perhaps, and a couple of meals. Regardless, Jerrow used different designs on their coins, that of ships the Ebony Tower and such, where Annalow used Ixxar writing and symbols (being that they controlled the mint). Amythra was determined to trade one bit for another and keep the coin as souvenir.

The difficulty wasn't in the trade, she found, but in finding someone who would give her the time. After an hour of looking over stand after stand of unimaginable wears and foods, the crowd shuffled her into a branching street where the shops ended and Amythra stood confused, abandoned in the road between two carts trying to muscle into the main street of the bizarre.

At least, she thought, there was a quiet looking inn made of green stone down the way and away from this madness. The girl saw, as she approached, the international symbol of rest, a bowl with a Felf letter meaning "Sleep." The name of the inn was the Borc's Slumber, a name that made sense when Amythra entered.

Behind the counter of the lobby, shaded with blue curtains, sat a large hairy borc snoozing. "Sorry to wake you," said Amythra. Despite the fact that the borc was slumped down in a comfortable looking chair, she still needed to look upward at him. "how much is a night?"

The borc opened one eye which looked her up and down, then he shrugged as if saying to himself, Islander. "'Piece and 2 bits, or 12 pieces for a dozen nights."

Amythra looked glumly into her purse. She still had a ticket for the trip back, which left early morning tomorrow, but if she wanted to keep an Annalow coin, that would leave barely enough for 2 meals.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Amythra 18

History lesson finished, the modern setting of the Annalow's Bizarre, which the Great Climb and the ramp Amythra used both lead to, was the basis of philosophers and merchant-scientist life works. The location of Annalow in the Mash'ta on the Gold Ocean is equal distance from three other cities making it the center of trade and a hub for product shipments. This means that any and everything that was trade for gold at some point makes it's way through the city's bizarre.

The effect of this on Amythra, someone who spent fifteen years sheltered in a fishing village, was brain breaking. The variety of persons, places, and things available in every color and size was so overwhelming her hand sliped and she dropped her sack to the ground, spilling out a few of it's contents.

Groping for her possessions, she found it impossible to break eye contact with a Borc/Mume duo performing in the middle of the road. The Borc blew fire onto a torch and, after a bit of juggling, the Mume ate the fire. There was, behind them, a stand which sold twelve kinds of beer from five different countries and one of his buying customers was a Marf standing perhaps 3 feet talk, hairless with a broken nose tip covered in at least 21 colored silks from southern Alexture. Take this kind of chaos and multiply it by 20 and you'll have the full scope of Amythra's mind set.

Renewing the grip on the sack her father packed for her, she delved into the teeming celebration of commerce, unwittingly leaving behind the map to her destination.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Amythra 17

The carvings and paintings went on, after that, but it's depiction of the city became more unfamiliar to Amythra. Every Mume and Womume was taught the origins of their capital, Annalow. The rest of the history, not so much. Amythra thought of Jerrow's founding almost 1,000 years ago by Mume explorers. She was stock of the original founders, tho not to the point of nobility.

To pass the time while walking, she marveled at the talent in the carvings of Annalow's history and recognized some of the more legendary events, such as the Immortal Red Maid Carr'dine, hero of Annalow 200 years ago who lead the response against the Ipskin invasion. Or the strange Sitting Protests against the altered history of the City centuries before that.

Halfway up the ramp, the murals stopped to be continued with blank walls and unhued stone awaiting other great events to be immortalized in the city's entrance. It also hadn't occurred to Amythra, but the number of city guard that must have been there to protect the history thinned out out significantly after the carvings stopped.

After another hour's passed she finally saw the sky's light in the ceiling above the curving ramp and the cavern opened up to the proper city of Annalow.

The noise of the city was something all together new to Amythra as the volume inverse to the closing distance. Great Goddess, it was loud up there.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Amythra 16

In the beginning, the Ixxar Dragon-Kin and the Marf Mole-Kin entered into an ambitious alliance to create a home for both in the tropical paradise of surrounding lands. Tho the pains to the south were covered in inedible gray-wheat, but the lands bordering the Gold Ocean were lush with jungle and fruit. It was at the border that ixxar design and marf ingenuity came together to create the Impossible Plateau, hollowed out at the north side to make way for the docks and at the south side, the Great Climb, a ramp huge in scope but more stunning was the fact that under the ramp was the housing and City of the Marf people.

Just under the surface of the Plateau was a sprawling set of catacombs and marf homes of mind boggling complexity. As Amythra read the Murals, she realized that marf homes were even under the ramp she walked on then.

The carvings went on; As the city reached it's completion, the ixxar were invaded by surprise by the mume race. Annalow was initially developed as much as a fortress of a city, nigh impenetrable, but the mume seemed to enter from the center of the plateau and the invasion was over as quickly as it started. Annalow ixxar call this event "Zero-Day" and mourn it. For a score or years, the ixxar rebelled until the mume, marf, and effee completed the huge Ebony Tower at the center of the city. Once finished, the Living Goddess Mandra descended and brought about peace through a treaty with the ixxar of Annalow.

This contract is known as the Annalow Foundation, a constitution for the government that the city would know up until even today. Above all else, it was known that the Ixxar and the Mume would be treated as equal, yet uneasy, partners of the city, and that any and every race could take home here. Everyone was allowed the right to life, above all else, and only the effee were not allowed property.

Even after two-thousand years, it is no secret that the ixxar still plot to reclaim the city.

[Aaaaand I missed yesterday. I really need to do something about this. 11 Days left.]

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Basics of Annalow Government

One would think that the Mume city of Annalow would be run entirely by the church of the Living Goddess, but in order to help quell the Ixxar Rebellion after Day Zero, Mandra had worked out a treaty not with the Dragon God Ouroboros, but with the Ixxar people themselves so that there would be peace. The main gist of the document was that Annalow should have a separate form of rule.

The Annalow Foundation (a.k.a. the Treaty of Mume and Ixxar) states that the City shall be ruled by "...a council of peers, one of each race who hold significant population in the City-State of Annalow, with exception of Ixxar who require two to perform as one." This meant if there were enough of any race as citizens of Annalow, they must have a representative of their race on the council. Each race determines on their own who become the council head.

The structure of Annalow government stands as follows: A council which currently includes one Effee, one Mume, one Borc, two Ixxar, and one Marf, vote and decide laws by majority decision (51% or better). Each Council Member chooses 2 Judges for the Court of Annalow to help interpret laws laid down by the Council for individual basis or to decide how context is relevant to following the law. And below the court is the City Guard and/or military who enforced the law and hold custody if necessary.

Tho not perfect the government has mostly held together with few changes over the last two millennium. Most well known laws are simple things like don't kill, don't steal, etc. For the curious, the Annalow Library, which is open to those with proper certificate, holds three tiers, one for Local history, one for historical laws that have been repealed, and one for current laws.

The foundation holds two things to be absolutely true; That all citizens hold the rights of property and freedom. Mostly, however, interpretation of these two right tend to be messy.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fox-Kin Origins

Many people in Mash'ta believed that the origin of all civilization was the Ixxar, the eldest anaviated race in the world, but Mash'ta is a Felfian word made by the second eldest race. Felf-kin invented language and philosophy, sure, but also civilization which was the supposed intent of the great Fox-God Mulla. Mash'ta means Heart, Center, or Core of all things.

Each animal spirit holds in its race a gift and it was Mulla's gift to control and, more importantly, to understand time so the great Fox-God is called "the Prophet of the World." Before Anaviation (which means creation of sentience) after the Ixxar Dragon-kin, the Fox-God looked at the whole of time, beginning to end, and was said to have taken an eternity carefully planning the place of his kin.

The foxes of Mash'ta were compelled to gather in three huge forests at three corners of Mash'ta all at once and was told a plan long since forgotten, then requested to be volunteers. Some, seeing flaw and mistrust in the the "Great Work" refused, so half the Fox Kin remained foxes. The rest who held faith in the Fox-God accepted and began their life with one word. "Mash'ta," the first word of the world.

This is why Fox Kin are the only race of people who still have their animal kin in the wild.

Felf kin had since forgotten or at least claimed ignorance to what the great work is, but faith in Mulla is faith in the Great Work and that Mulla has seen and understood the whole scope of time.

It is currently 2,000 years after Zero-Day, 4 seasons that both the living Goddess Mandra and the Fox-God Mulla has said will be an age of Firsts. All Fox Kin are ready.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Amythra 15

Before entering the ramp area, Amythra was stopped by a guard who asked her some basic questions. He remarked she was an islander and warned her that she was not to carry any blade longer than her hand's width from thumb to pinky. It didn't matter, anyway, as she wasn't armed. A pat on her shoulder later and the mume sent her away only to busy himself with another entering the ramp area.

The climb up from the docks was as mind boggling as the docks themselves. It came in the form of a ramp that spiraled around the west side of the impossible plateau all the way from the bottom of the north side around to the top of the south side, which was the main entrance of Annalow to begin with. The angle of the thing was steep enough to make the climb efficient, but low enough to make it bearable. It's center was a larger bump separating the left climb of many caravans, carts, and travelers, including Amythra, and the right side on which descended just as many.

As she climbed, she saw that right wall was cut into huge pillars windowing cerulean sky as primary light source, tho lamps also hung from the pillars close enough to the road to illuminate what the sky missed. On the left wall of the ramp was covered in carvings and murals depicting the history of Annalow, some of which was not unknown to her.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Amythra 14

As much as possible, it was Amythra's attempt to avoid bitter parting with her brother. Marvate hugged, bowed, and gave promise of future letters, tho the chaos of war would not allow any set frequency. The post in Jerrow was sketchy at best anyway. She took the Church's teachings to heart in the seven moments she had left with her brother and savored him as he walked away for the last time.

There would be letters, but she would never see him again.

The Docks under Annalow were in perpetual night with old and new styles and technologies used to light up the buildings and roads. With sack slung over her shoulder and gloves on, Amythra traced the scenery with eyes as if like charcoal on papyrus. The fantastic vista was unlike her dreams stunning her imagination, it being unable to stretch her brain around the scope and vastness of the thing. This cavern was simple huge. The sky was black with overhanging stalactites with pin-pricks of light coming from a few overhanging structures built into the rock perhaps a half mile above her. They formed a strange artificial constellation.

Overwhelmed, she turned to a gruff and hairy looking Borc who was helping tie the ships ropes to the pier. "I'm sorry, but where is the Bizarre?" The Borc's reaction was first one of surprise that Amythra was so naive, but after realizing she was a stupid islander, he frowned and pointed toward the ramp that spiraled out of view at the west of the cavern. She bowed and left.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Amythra 13

"By the living Goddess!" Amythra muttered.

"It's big, isn't it?" Marvate was beside her and she was glad, because the size and depth of the docks of Annalow was frightful. She felt as if the whole ship was being swallowed up by a God-Monster. "And yes, sister, the Docks are bigger than our village. And this," he laughed, "is just the docks. Wait until you see the city above."

Amythra felt her heart sink as the shadow of the cavern finally overcast the passenger ship. "What..." She gulped. "What's it like, brother? The city, I mean."

"It's fine, I suppose. Most people are too busy to pay attention to you, but everyone talks with a funny accent. I been told we got what's called 'Sea Speak,' whatever that means. Oh," He ribbed her, "an' you'll see a lot more Effee than you've ever seen. A lot more of everything than you've ever seen. That's Annalow, sister. One big whole lot of everything. 'Right, face me." he turned his sister to face him. "Father doesn't know the city like I do, but I'm sure he gave you warnings?"

"Uh...Oh aye. He said something about gloves."

"No no." Marvate stopped to think. "But don't lose those glove. No one will even let you buy food without gloves, except other womumes." He waved the subject away. "No, but listen. Don't be afraid to ask others anything, but don't let the boys get any closer to ya than they have to. They'll shag anything that moves and your just of age in the city. Also, don't be offended if the Effee or the Ixxar don't pay any attention to you as most of them have their own duties. Keep from underfoot of the Borc. They're huge and they tend to forget they're huge. And if you see a Felf, send me a letter. I love the crazy bastards."

"What about the Marf?"

"Oh you won't see the Marf. They stay underground." He stopped again to think. "Unless it rains, then just get in doors and shut the shutters. It's..." Marvate shuddered. "...strange."

The ship came to a halt as deck hands grabed ropes to begin docking.